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Book review: A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain

Travel back to and see them again for the first time. PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed.

Revisit through its best albums. Electronic rockers Swoll craft a powerful song in "Shudder to Think" that moves beyond boundaries. M83's follow-up to 's ambient collection Digital Shades Vol. A rewarding, enriching and outstanding collaboration between Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Bryce Dessner, and Eighth Blackbird makes the old sound new, the new sound old and shines a light on a long lost minimalist composer.

'A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain' Looks at the Modern City in Decay - PopMatters

Ad Astra has the astronomical humanism of Interstellar mixed with the morose nihilism of Apocalypse Now , fueled by a booster rocket of daddy issues. The Book of Traps and Lessons reveals Kate Tempest's disdain with contemporary society while also envisioning a future where it all can be changed. With a flair for hip-hop laced with Marxism, the album is poetic artistry.


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  • A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain – Principle 5.

Signed to Vince Clarke's Very Records, Brook's electropop debut is a rich mix of taut electronics and captivating vocals. Folk poppers Firewoodisland deliver peak chamber pop with the gorgeously arranged and performed ode, "Hollow Coves". Connor Willumsen keeps the narrative in his graphic fiction book, Bradley of Him, as lean and off-balance as his maybe-deranged main character. Slayyyter's debut mixtape suggests not only nostalgia for, but an intrinsic value in, a long-dead version of celebrity in which artists needn't make statements to achieve icon status.

Vampire Weekend's largest headlining show in New York City, in support of their fourth album, Father of the Bride , was just one date of an extensive tour. The HawtThorns successfully shine-up classic country music with sumptuous harmonies and innovative instrumentation on Morning Sun. Legislation, the vehicle of idealists, is bereft of ideas in the times of Trumpism. We are left to fend for ourselves.

Neurosis and Jarboe collaborated on a stunning album of heavy metal experimentation back in Now the album has been remastered and it's time for a fresh appraisal. All rights reserved. Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated. Powered by RebelMouse. Owen Hatherley critiques not only the architecture of recent urban redevelopment, but also the politics behind it.

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The 10 Best Debut Albums of Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of The 60 Best Albums of PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Slayyyter's Love For 'Blackout' Era Britney Spears Informs Her Debut Mixtape Slayyyter's debut mixtape suggests not only nostalgia for, but an intrinsic value in, a long-dead version of celebrity in which artists needn't make statements to achieve icon status. Neurosis and Jarboe Create a Titanic and Utterly Enveloping Musical Experience Neurosis and Jarboe collaborated on a stunning album of heavy metal experimentation back in The 60 Best Albums of The Greatest Alternative Singles of the '80s: Part 1: - They serve as his guiding principles.

History will pass verdict, sometimes alarmingly quickly, on what we build. And there will always be reactionaries waiting in the wings, their howitzers charged and mortars primed, even if in lucky Britain the artillery is usually metaphorical. Owen Hatherley is a tyro architectural critic. He is a modernist.

Owen Hatherley on New Labour's regeneration legacy

There are many kinds of modernists. They are as one in their scorn for Prince Charles's attempts to move the entire country into Georgian market towns, but they are united by little else.

One modernist's cutting-edge residential block is another modernist's design nightmare. Hatherley is a passionate, hip, socialist, inner-city modernist. He believes, unassailably, architecture is not - or should not be - an isolated, academic practice. Where we live and work reflects who we are. Buildings matter. There are differences. Hatherley also visits Scotland and Wales, and he devotes himself to conurbations. Priestley, even if he were writing today, would not stud his descriptions of Sheffield, as Hatherley does, with worshipful references to Pulp and the Human League.

But Hatherley is as concerned as Priestley was with the way that people are made to live by the powers which build their homes and environment. Prince Charles and the heritage industry may pretend otherwise, but the vast majority of us have lived in cities for almost two centuries, and will continue to do so. Owen Hatherley goes through selected British cities wide-eyed, witty and wondering … what are our cities for?

In his search of the answer, he zig-zags across Britain, from his native Southampton haunted by the Titanic, even architecturally to the functioning "non-city" of Milton Keynes; from "the mausoleum of Blairism" in renovated Manchester to the thrilling blend of old and new that is 21st-century Newcastle. Eventually, he winds up in Glasgow.